Capsule Biographies

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Born 1901. Died January 10, 1967.

The daughter of a wealthy New York City family, Laura Ingalls learned to fly in 1928. In 1930 she performed 344 consecutive loops in setting a women's record, and shortly broke her own record with 930. She also did 714 barrel rolls breaking both women's and men's records. Ingalls held more national transcontinental air records during the '30s than any other woman, including a record of 30 hours east to west and 25 hours west to east (round trip New York and Los Angeles), both in 1930.

In 1935 she became the first women to fly non-stop from the east coast to the west coast and then immediately broke Amelia Earhart's non-stop west-to-east record with a flight from Los Angeles to New York in 13h:34m. Her most well-known flights were made in 1934 and earned her a Harmon Trophy a the most outstanding female aviator of the year.

Ingalls flew a Lockheed Orion from Mexico to Chile, over the Andes Mountains to Rio, to Cuba and then to New York, marking the first flight over the Andes by an American woman, the first solo flight around South America in a landplane, the first flight by a woman from North America to South America, and setting a woman's distance record of 17,000 miles. In 1936 she placed second behind Louise Thaden in the prestigious Bendix Trophy Race.

Ingalls' flying career ended with questions about her spying for the Germans in World War II, charges that she denied and were never proven. (— Smithsonian Institution)